Date of Submission


Document Type



Doctor of Education




STEAM (STEM), Design Thinking, organizational change, change management, educational change, 21st Century skills, instructional change


This organizational improvement plan centres around a problem of practice at a faith-based independent elementary school in Ontario. Faced with several organizational challenges including declining enrolment and pressure by stakeholders to ensure curriculum delivery remains relevant for 21st Century learners, there is a goal of embedding Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math (STEAM) integrated learning in a meaningful way. The school has made physical space and has the technology available to support instructional change including a dedicated Marker Space and Robotics Room. A robotics specialist and an administrator supervising innovation have been hired to support teachers but integration in the past two years has been slow. There are divisions between the English and the faith-based teachers that are pronounced.

STEAM will be a driver for design thinking and 21C skill development across both the English and the faith-based teaching groups and the Design Thinking Cycle will guide the process. Many aspects of change management are addressed, including managing resisters, conflict teams and how to implement a lateral leadership model when historically the organization has been hierarchical in nature.

Using a Logic Model to identify and articulate the problem of practice and choosing transformational leadership alongside incremental change theory provides the theoretical frame for this process. The Design Thinking cycle provides the conceptual frame as it articulates the change and ultimately the goal for all stakeholders. This problem of practice seeks to build staff capacity and cohesiveness through a process of lateral leadership. Ultimately a final curricular document that outlines STEAM learning at each grade level will be created by members of the STEAM Team and staff will have built capacity. Equity issues such as religion, gender and internal bias will be made transparent and problem solving around these issues will be paramount. Ultimately, the document will be continually revised to react to the global market and as each new technology emerges onto the global landscape and job market the school must pivot and redesign the nature of the STEAM curriculum to reflect these shifts.